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4D Works

First Flush - Life, Death and Tea (2002)

Ottersberger Auffuehrung
Ottersberger Auffuehrung
First Flush was performed at the Ottersberger Performancetage FestivalA 45-minute, (pseudo) scientific lecture was presented, accompanied by the preparation of five different teas by an assistant. The purpose of the talk was to prepare the audience for a peculiar tea ceremony to take place after the lecture. To consume any of the teas meant the possibility of absorbing material that was once synthesised in the bodies of famous thinkers and musicians, including Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Heinrich Böll. The teas were made of dried leaves which had been collected from trees growing near the graves of these people. The tasting that followed the talk was not annunciated; the talk itself covered an apparently random choice of themes, including organic decomposition, the assimilation of nutrients in plants, religous notions of transmigration, and sociological notes on star cults.

Am Grab von Samuel Beckett in Paris. Tuetchen mit Blaettern von Beckett's Grab.


Infokarte von der Verkostungstheke: Oscar Wilde, Pflueckung am 14. September 2002, Art und Gattung: Acer platanoides (Spitzahorn), Ort: Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise Paris, Grababstand ca. ein Meter und weitere Informationen.
Bild von Oscar Wilde's Grab und dem Baum, der den Rohstoff fuer sein Aufgussgetraenk lieferte.

The lecture was structured into 13 parts and was illustrated by slides (see selection below).

Note: the images were not part of the quoted sources but produced for the performance.

1. Excerpt from a talk originally given by the psychotherapist Rainer Mahr on the subject Energy and Identity, addressing the question how life is influenced by subatomic particles.

Dia 1: Elektron
2. Exceprpt rom the introduction of the book Expeditionen in den Nanokosmos (Expeditions to the Nano Cosmos) by Michael Gross: "Molecules: Without them there was no life"
Dia 2: Gewebestrukturen - optisch aehnlich bei Zellsystemen, Neuronenfortsaetzen und in der molekularen Struktur.
3. From the chapter Processes of Transformation and the Christian Communion taken from the online reader Geisterleben. Menschenessen (Ghost Life. Man Eating.) by Andrea Sick

"The cannibal act appears as (...) a process of the metamorphosis: it converts the dead into the living"


Dia 3: Abendmahl - Foto und Darstellung aus der Renaissance.
4. Excerpts from the chapter The assimilation of nitrates is required for the synthesis of organic material taken from the textbook Pflanzenbiochemie (Plant Biochemistry) by Hans W. Heldt
Dia 4: Schema des Weges vom Nitrat aus dem Boden bis in die Blattzellen.
5. Excerpt from the article Kurt Cobain: Die Stimme einer Generation (Kurt Cobain: the voice of a generation) by Lars Friebel, Rhein-Zeitung

Subject: Star cult and how to deal with the cinder of the famous singer


Dia 5: Kurt Cobain - Portrait, mit Band, Polizeifoto des Toten, trauernde Fans.
6. Excerpt from the book Wie der Mensch den Tod besiegt (How man conquers death) by Klaus Reinhard

Description of a laboratory test in which rats and other animals show behaviours similar to trained congeners after having been given an injection of the latter's brain substance.


Dia 6: Computergrafik DNS Molekül.
7. § 13 of John Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding

Topic: The possibility of transmigration under materialist premises.


Dia 7: Pseudo-Keltisches Armulett / Seelenwanderung.
8. Excerpts from the textbook Introduction to Organic Geochemistry by Stephen D. Killops

Subjects: organic decomposition and the enrichment of inorganic nutrients in the soil

Dia 8: Schema Bodenlebewesen - durchschnittlicher prozentualer Anteil, mikroskopisches Bild von Bakterien und verschiedene Kleinstlebewesen als Zeichnung.
9. Excerpts from the chapter about Isoprenoides in the textbook Pflanzenbiochemie (Plant Biochemistry) by Hans W. Heldt

Phosphate and nitrogen are essential components of etheric oils (as found in infusion drinks). Plants absorb them mostly from the vegetable mould.


Die 9: Schema des Phosphorkreislaufes.
10. Excerpt from the homepage of a swiss undertaker offering tree funerals:

"...the cinder of the deceased is buried in the ground near a young or newly planted tree or shrub. Symbolically, it gives it strength ..."


Dia 10: Screenshot der Internetseite von Waldesruh.

11. Excerpt rom the text Beim Staubwischen (Cleaning off the dust) by Moritz Gerber - diary of an alternative servant :

"The future's dust which I am, wipes present dust which has once been on nose, bellybutton and skull cover of someone. Who sticks to my cleaning rags, dust today and human being yesterday?"


Dia 11: Staub unterm Mikroskop.
12. Hot infusion drinks: a short text about the composition of teas and the chemistry of making tea.
Dia 13: Teekanne aus Glas, in der sich das Lösungssubstrat verteilt.
Cited sources:
  • Mahr, Rainer: Energie und Identität (Vortrag für den Europäischen Kongress für Bioenergetische Analyse - Psychotherapie, 25.-28.5.1995 in Rom),
  • Gross, Michael: Expeditionen in den Nanokosmos, Basel, 1995, p.1
  • Sick, Andrea: Geisterleben. Menschenessen. - Die kannibalische Ordnung und ihre magische Wirkung, Online Reader
  • Heldt, Hans W.: Pflanzenbiochemie, Berlin, 1999, p.277ff (Kap. 10)
  • Friebel, Lars: Kurt Cobain: Die Stimme einer Generation in: Rhein-Zeitung 20.02.1997
  • Reinhard, Klaus: Wie der Mensch den Tod besiegt - Technische Verfahren zur Unsterblichkeit, Wien, 1987, pp. 73ff (Kap. 5)
  • Locke, John: Versuch über den menschlichen Verstand (1689); Digitale Bibliothek Band 2: Philosophie, pp. 14281-14283 (§13)
  • Auszüge aus: Killops, Stephen D. Einführung in die organische Geochemie, Stuttgart, 1997
  • Heldt, Hans W.: Pflanzenbiochemie, Berlin 1999, pp.410ff (Kap. 17)
  • Auszug: Gerber, Moritz: Beim Staubwischen aus Mein Jahr in der Jugendherberge, 2000, veröffentlicht auf

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